Top 6 Blog Posts of 2015

This has been a busy year for us at Newsela. We’ve been hard at work improving the site and adding features that matter most to educators. We launched our blog back in May to keep you up-to-date with all the latest news, provide best practices based on data, and feature inspiring educator stories. Here’s a look back at the top posts this year.

6. What’s in a Name? For Newsela, it’s a Science

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One reason why we’re not News-E-L-A is that we’re not just for ELA teachers. In fact, more than 60 percent of Newsela educators teach subjects other than ELA. With new features like Español and Newsela for Science, it’s never been easier to make cross-curricular connections with Newsela. Read on to discover some of our all-time most read science articles.

5. Supporting Spanish-Speaking Students As Never Before

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Spanish language content was one of the most-requested features, and we’re happy to offer 200+ Spanish articles, with more being added daily. Read the post for more on why Newsela Español is close to our hearts.

4. 6 Ways to Encourage Students to Keep up With Current Events

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Inspired by a New York Times survey of students’ most-followed news topics, our staff tracked down some tried-and-tested methods for engaging students with current events. Find them here.

3. The State of Text Sets (or Vice Versa)

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We want to make sure you have the best possible resources to make cross-curricular connections through the news, and Text Sets are a big part of that equation. Our content team has curated Text Sets for literature, science, social studies and U.S. states. Check out the announcement and read how students applied these Text Sets in the Newsela In Your Community writing contest entries.

2. Share Your Newsela Goals

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Newsela educators of all stripes shared what they hope to achieve with Newsela this school year. Here are a few of our favorite #newselagoals:

“My grade 7-9 LA students are reading Newsela articles that connect what they are learning in science and social.” Noreen

“Next quarter, I hope to employ the Spanish articles to help my ESL students raise their overall reading comprehension.” Katie

“My goal is quite simple: To create lifelong readers! I especially want them to enjoy nonfiction.” Lori

1. Kathy DeBona’s Students Take Action and Give Back

One of our favorite stories of impact, this guest post from educator Kathy DeBona details an unforgettable experience for herself and her students, as well as a colleague.

“I think I’m always going to try new things now, because I never know if I can do it, unless I actually try to do it.”

Thanks for being part of our amazing community. We can’t wait to continue the journey with you next year.

 

 

Behind the Scenes: New Search and Navigation

“Hello, I am having trouble finding my text sets.” 

“I have ‘favorited’ several articles. How do I find my list of favorites?”

“While there are aspects of Newsela that I truly like, when I go to the website there is no way to find the crosswords, text sets, etc.”

We receive hundreds of notes like these every week from passionate teachers who are engaging their students with Newsela in their classroom every day. Over the past few months, we’ve been collecting feedback and suggestions from our educator community and applying our design thinking on how to improve the discovery of relevant content on Newsela.

Today, we are excited to launch a modern and more powerful search and navigation tool that makes it easier find what you are looking for on Newsela.

With more than 1,600 differentiated articles and hundreds of teacher-created Text Sets, Newsela has become an essential tool for educators all over the world. But, until now, there’s never been an easy way to find all the Newsela resources available to teachers, students, and parents.

Better, More Relevant Search

As we went back to the drawing board, we thought deeply about how we could build a solution that would work across many different content types. By focusing our efforts on improving the search interface as well as the relevance of search results, we believed we could better connect teachers and students to the content they were looking for. 

We put search functionality front and center and designed it so that you instantly start seeing results as you start your search. In addition, we redesigned how we display relevant results so you can easily find what you are looking for at a glance. We also added advanced search functionality to help you further narrow your search if you needed to.

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In addition to improving the search bar, we also expanded search functionality to surface Text Sets, one of our most popular features, as well as content from our Learning and Support section. 

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Simpler Navigation

As we tackled site navigation redesign, we spent a lot of time thinking about how to balance functional needs like “teachers will want to find x” or “students will need quick access to y” while making sure our product design stayed modern and current.

One of the first things we realized is that we placed too much emphasis on content “categories” while providing no real estate for other important content types like Text Sets.

To solve for this, we focused on removing friction from our navigation experience. With this update, navigating Newsela takes less space while doing more. The new design surfaces more content without being tied to a specific category paradigm. Relevant content is now a click away, and you can now browse curated content from our Editors as well as most loved articles. 

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To learn more about our new search and navigation, visit our Learning and Support center

Brian James is the Director of User Experience at Newsela. For over 10 years he has designed user experiences for numerous interactive agencies and startups in San Francisco and New York. His work has been written about in the New York Times, Mashable, Business Insider, ESPN, Bloomberg, Forbes and Yahoo Finance.